On appeal from New Jersey State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
Allcorn, Morgan and Horn. The opinion of the court was delivered by Horn, J.A.D.
Appellant respondent Arthur Ponzio appeals from an order of the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (State Board) revoking his license for land surveying after his conviction in the United States District Court of 16 counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion while he was Commissioner of the Department of Public Works for the City of Atlantic City. Said order granted leave to apply for restoration of the license no less than five months subsequent to the date of the order. The State Board stayed the revocation pending this appeal.
The complaint filed by the Attorney General with the State Board asserted as reasons for his demand that respondent's license be revoked that said convictions demonstrated conclusively that respondent lacked the good character and reputation required for licensure as a land surveyor under N.J.S.A. 45:8-35, and that the acts for which respondent was convicted were "inconsistent with the public welfare and are such a gross dereliction from the duties of good citizenship and professional responsibility of honesty and fair dealing, that they constitute misconduct in
the practice of land surveying, contrary to N.J.S.A. 45:8-38."
At a formal administrative hearing before the State Board the Attorney General introduced into evidence the record of the convictions and iterated the reasons stated in his complaint for revocation of respondent's license. Respondent offered into evidence certain exhibits, including the sentencing judge's sympathetic remarks when he vacated respondent's remaining incarcerating sentence in August 1976. Respondent testified briefly. He denied that he was in fact guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted and he asserted that the convictions were unrelated to his land-surveying activities.
The State Board rested its decision to revoke the license upon the tendered hypothesis of the Attorney General, finding, among other things, that
2. The crimes for which respondent was convicted demonstrate a lack of the good character and reputation required pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:8-35 of all licensees and a disregard of the public welfare.
Thus, the revocation was founded solely on lack of that good character and reputation of defendant required by N.J.S.A. 45:8-35 of all applicants for license "and a disregard of the public welfare."
N.J.S.A. 45:8-35, as applicable here, provides:
N.J.S.A. 45:8-38, dealing with the revocation of licenses ...